Sunday, April 6, 2014

Last P-Day in the CCM! What?

April 3, 2014

Well time is just flying by down here in the CCM!  Today is my last P-day AND I got my FLIGHT info for when I leave for Ecuador.  AHH!!!   I was so so excited, I could not stop smiling.  

I leave next Tuesday, April 8th at 2:15 in the morning.  We will leave the CCM at 11 pm on Monday night to get to the airport in time, and HOPEFULLY I will have the chance to call you in the airport.  If not, then I should be able to call you during my layover in Colombia. (No clue what time that will be in good old Utah, but I am calling every number I know until you answer. J)   I can´t wait to hear your voices and then it will only be a few short weeks until we can CALL for MOTHERS DAY!!  Woot! Woot!  So on Monday I will have the opportunity to email you again and then from here on out my P-day will be on Monday for the rest of my mission.  So expect a few emails sometime on this coming Monday around 2 pm.  

Hermanas Johnson & Shill - I love these ladies
They are going to knock the socks off the people in Chile!

So this week just FLEW by.  We had another huge wave of Latinos come in and I met 2 from the Ecuador, Guayaquil North Area.  I am here to tell you that I maybe got a fraction of what they were saying to me.  Haha oh boy, my first day in Ecuador is going to be wonderful. J  But once they started talking a little slower I could completely understand them.  And another thing…they are SO SHORT.  I feel so tall around them.  This one Hermana gives me THE biggest hug every time she sees me and told me she would tell her parents that I am coming to their area and to look for me.  She said they will feed me "mucha comida" (lots of food) and they will love me.  I have their address too so hopefully I will be able to meet her cute family.  

Here in the CCM we have become accustomed to responding to Hermana or Elder.  So the best thing to do in the comador (cafeteria) is to yell “HERMANA” or “ELDER” and then watch and admire as almost every missionary turns around in anticipation that someone needs them.  When I get home, I will most likely still introduce myself to everyone as Hermana Bartolomeo (I’ve given up and started using this because no one can say our last name, they just look at my name tag with the most confused face). 

Also, if anyone wonders what we are supposed to be doing during the day, most likely the answer is ADDITIONAL STUDY.  Study, study, study.  One important thing I learned during additional study this week is that the word “agency”, in the context of teaching the Plan of Salvation in Spanish is not "agencia" it is "albedrío".  "Agencia" is defined as a something like a travel agency or a car dealership, not the ability to choose for ourselves.  Entonces [well], for the past 6 weeks, in essence, I have been telling our investigators that the difference between Christ´s plan and Satan´s plan was that Christ wanted us to have a car dealership and Satan didn’t want us to have a car dealership.  I have no clue why no one told me that it was wrong, but my district and I laughed once we realized what I have really been saying.  "Travel Agencies are essential to our life on earth!"  J  I am sure that I will have many more similar moments to come in Ecuador.  

Also, speaking of study, we haven’t learned much vocabulary for things that are not gospel related, especially adjectives - so we say, "¡Esta bien!" (It’s all good!) 400 times a day.  Or, we switch it up and say, "¡Pero, esta bien!" (But, it’s all good!)  Or sometimes, we pull out the big guns with "¡Bien, bien, bien!" (Good, good, good!)  So my plan for the next 4 days I have left in the CCM is to learn new adjectives.  I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself though - I have been complimented by some of the Latinos that my Spanish is "muy bien."  Hopefully those in Ecuador will think the same!  

This week was the same old, same old schedule, but I want to share with you some spiritually edifying things I was able to learn this week...

1.    On Sunday Hermana Pratt (CCM President’s wife) reviewed the scriptures with us and drew our attention to how many times the Lord will "prepare" something for us.  Our Heavenly Father will always prepare a way for us.  He is preparing people right now for me to come and find in Ecuador.  We must do everything we can first and he will deliver.  As missionaries, our investigators will be delivered into our hands, but we must do the work first and open our mouths.

In 1 Nefi 17, verses 7-10, Nefi asks "How can I make the tools?" to build the ship; and the Lord PREPARED a way for Nefi to find ore to make the tools.  [Side note from Jessica’s Dad - I think it is funny that Jessica is already starting to use the Spanish words for things in her letters.  From experience I can tell you that she probably doesn’t even realize she is doing it.  Obviously, Nefi is Nephi

Hermana Pratt asked us what ORE have we been given in OUR lives?  I encourage you all to think about what ore have we been given to make tools in our lives?  Some examples are temples, scriptures, patriarchal blessings, family, the Preach my Gospel manual, bishops, testimony, our own personal talents (spiritual gifts), our personal experiences, etc.  These things are all ORE that Heavenly Father has given us...in 1 Nefi 10 verse 16, it says, “and I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock...And it came to pass."  

“And it came to pass” is a repeated phrase throughout El Libro de Mormon, (I can’t call it The Book of Mormon any more J) and signifies a period of time where the individual performed much work and planning.  With this ORE that we have been given we need to utilize and diligently study in order to make TOOLS.  As a missionary, I can use this ORE to develop teaching skills, and use this TOOL while teaching those in Ecuador.  It all depends on if you are going to take the ORE we have been given to acquire tools to work as a missionary!  I have always been told that we are given many TOOLS in our lives.  But in reality it is ORE and becomes a TOOL only when we put in the individual effort to do things like open the Book of Mormon and study, or pray, or talk to our families, do they become the TOOLS needed to return to our Heavenly Father.
2.    Grace is another word repeated many, many times in El Libro de Mormon.  I have never really understood what it truly meant until Presidente Pratt said, "Grace is the divine means of help or strength, an enabling power and ability to receive strength to accomplish things that you otherwise would not be able to do on your own.”  In Alma chapter 26 verse 12 it says, "…in His strength I can do all things."  Through Christ’s GRACE we can do ALL things.  The Lord will help me do things that I would otherwise never be able to do on my own - for example, learning Spanish and teaching the people of Ecuador for 18 months!  Amazing right?
3.    On Tuesday we watched a devotional by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that was held in the Provo MTC in 2012, two days before General Conference.  His talk was about getting the most out of General Conference.  How perfect, because this weekend we have the privilege of watching and listening to Conference!

Before I get into the conference portion of his talk, I want to share something his wife said.  She told us, "We are bringing a spiritual casserole to the world!"  How cute is that?  The best part was that the positioning of the camera allowed us to see Elder Bednar sitting behind her, and his reaction to this statement.  I have never seen an apostle laugh so hard.  It was so great.  

Elder Bednar promised that this will be the greatest General Conference that we (as missionaries) will ever watch, mostly because it will be the first time that we will be AWAKE for all 4 sessions.  Oh, and a little side note, we didn’t get to watch the General Women’s Conference, but we will watch it while the Elders are watching the Priesthood session this weekend.  

I encourage EVERYONE who is reading this to watch General Conference on TV, your phone, IPad, computer...where ever you are-LISTEN to the prophets of our day.  “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, IT IS THE SAME.” (D&C 1:38)

Elder Bednar gave us a pattern to follow while listening to the talks.  His pattern is: 1) look for the doctrine, or the saving truth (what we need to know to be saved); 2) look for the invitation or request to live in accordance with Christ’s teachings; and 3) finally listen for the promised blessings.  In almost every talk you will hear the phrase, "these blessings WILL come."  This is not just a fancy, common line in General Conference.  Our living Apostles say these things with the authority of the apostolic keys they hold.  These are SURE promised blessings and THEY WILL COME in the Lord´s time.  WOW!  

Also Elder Bednar made sure that it was clear to us - there are NO assigned topics for General Conference.  President Monson does not say, Elder Bednar you cover the Book of Mormon and then Elder Holland, then you go light it up!  No!  The Master, OUR Heavenly Father coordinates what will be said.  Elder Bednar said that every single conference he sits back and is AMAZED at the love that Heavenly Father has for us, and what we as HIS CHILDREN need to hear.  Our Heavenly Father is close and he IS aware of us.  He is never hidden or unable to help us, all we need to do is ASK! 

The final point he made was that the closing remarks by President Monson should not just be "concluding remarks" but they are the most important teaching during general conference.  President Monson is putting a spiritual exclamation point on the teachings of the LORD.  

I add my testimony to Elder Bednar´s that I KNOW that our Heavenly Father speaks through his prophets and when we follow the council given, the love we feel from our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will not feel as though it is from a distance, but as if He was right there giving us a big hug.  Oh man, I am SO SO excited for Conference and I hope you all are too! 

Well this week was sad because Hermana Olsen and I taught our investigators Renaldo, Ignacio and Ana for the last time.  They are all so excited to be baptized and I truly am so grateful for the ability to feel my Savior’s love for them.

District 15C with our Morning Teachers - Ana is on far left and Ignacio (Hermano Flores) is in the middle

I will always be grateful for my amazing teachers in the CCM and I am beyond grateful that they immersed me in the Spanish language.  I have learned more here in the incredible CCM then I probably have learned in my whole life.  Every missionary should be praying to be sent to the CCM!!  I know, I know, I KNOW this church is true and our Heavenly Father loves us beyond comprehension. AHH!!!!  Ecuador in 4 days!!!!  WAHOO!!  I seriously can´t stop smiling.  

Well family, I love you lots, and I will talk to you on Monday! 

Con amor, 
Hermana Bartholomew

[NOTE: Jessica sent us a note saying that she was having a problem with the memory card from her camera, and couldn't pull up any of the other pictures she took this week. So only 2 pictures this week!  She will try to send more this coming Monday.]

No comments:

Post a Comment